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“There are few nations in the world, which could derive friendship out of such a long shared history”

H.E.  Mr. Osman Koray Ertas, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Romania:

“It is my distinct pleasure to celebrate the 91st anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey in Bucharest with Romanian friends. I thank Nine O’clock editors and staff for providing the opportunity to convey my message through this issue.
Following the war of national liberation in the aftermath of the First World War, modern Turkey was founded on October 29, 1923 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, one of the greatest leaders of the last century. The days of independence struggle were difficult and harsh, causing the lives of many men and women.
Although a long and devastating war ended with the foundation of the new Republic, a new difficult and challenging era of creating a modern state has started. Under the visionary leadership of Atatürk, we have also covered a long way on this path. Now as Turks, we are proud to have country of more than 70 million that could merge tradition with modernity, that has a vibrant democracy, strong economy, functioning institutions, young and dynamic population, and successful entrepreneurs, some of which lives here in Romania.
As might be known to some of Nine O’clock readers, I have recently assumed my duties as Ambassador of Turkey. It is a true privilege to be able to serve in this beautiful capital and have the chance to further develop already existing strong relations between our nations. Turkey and Romania enjoy a multi-dimensional and multifaceted relationship. There is activity in almost all fields, including economy, military, culture, security, tourism, people to people contacts, and many others.
There are few nations in the world, which could derive friendship out of such a long shared history. The centuries old common history that we shared serves as an asset for today’s bilateral relations and strong factor that makes the friendship between our nations stronger.
We are not only old friends and neighbors but also allies within NATO and strategic partners sharing the same ideals and values. We work very closely on a broad geography spanning the Balkans, Black Sea, Caucasus, and the Middle East as well as on critical issues, including energy security, joint defense initiatives, regional security, fight against terrorism and organized crime. We have shared visions and objectives on various events, including the recent developments in both Black Sea region and the Middle East. Our soldiers are working hand in hand in Afghanistan. Our close cooperation is a force for good in our region and beyond.
Thanks to the excellent level of bilateral relations, Turkey and Romania have upgraded their relations to the level of Strategic Partnership with a document signed in 2011. Two years later, we have finalized an Action Plan, which serves as a road map for this strategic partnership.
Thanks to the Action Plan the number of bilateral contacts increased rapidly. The heavy traffic of bilateral visits makes us all happy. My colleagues and I visit Henri Coanda Airport a couple of times a week to meet and greet Turkish officials of various ranks and expertise. There is not a week that I do not host a couple of Turkish and Romanian delegations at the Residence. Not only the quantity but also the quality and content of the meetings are satisfactory.
Economic and commercial aspects of the relations are also promising. Over 10,000 Turkish companies operate here with an overall investment of about 5 billion Dollars in a wide range of sectors, including finance, banking, white good manufacturing, industry, glass production, wood production, construction, food processing, health, and media. Our active business community is a strong force in bolstering our relations. Our trade volume surpassed 6 billion Dollars last year, making Turkey the largest trade partner of Romania after the EU. In the overall ranking, Turkey is Romania’s fifth largest trading partner. We have set the target to increase the bilateral trade volume to 10 billion dollars.
We work hard to further increase bilateral economic ties to the mutual benefit of our nations. We are honored as Romania Turkish Businessman Association – TIAD hosted Prime Minister Ponta and Economy Minister Nita together with the Turkish Economy Minister Zeybekci last month at the Turkish – Romanian Investment Forum.
Cultural links and people-to-people contacts make this relationship even more special. There is a centuries-old shared history between our nations. Every year hundreds of thousands of Romanians visit Turkey to enjoy the Turkish hospitality, making Turkey one of the top tourist destinations for Romanians. Turkish and Tatar minority in Romania serves as a robust cultural and social bridge between our nations. We proudly follow their achievements and contribution to this beautiful country. We deeply appreciate the exemplary policies of Romanian state towards these minorities. We are also proud to witness that the Turkish business community, after more than a decade, is also well integrated in the Romanian society.
Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Centers in Bucharest and Constanta as well as Romanian Cultural Institute Dimitrie Cantemir in Istanbul also do a great job in promoting Turkish and Romanian cultures and languages in both countries. Taking this opportunity, I invite everyone to visit and enjoy one of Yunus Emre Center’s various events in Romania.
We have everything to further develop our relations to the benefit of our nations and the region. We have the political will, private sector involvement, human dimension, and  cultural element. And we are ready to make utmost use of all them to bolster our partnership. As a fresh representative of my country, I will dedicate myself to this cause. It will be an honor for me to serve for the historical friendship between our nations”.

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